Diocese opposes Dumaguete reclamation project

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Diocese opposes Dumaguete reclamation project
Photo shows Rizal Boulevard in Dumaguete City in 2018.
The START / Charvee Tan

MANILA, Philippines — A Catholic diocese expressed its opposition to a planned 174-hectare reclamation project in Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental as it called for transparency and consultation with communities.

The city government of Dumaguete and developer E.M. Cuerpo Inc. aim to build a P23-billion “smart city” on a reclaimed land, which is seen to negatively impact communities and coastal ecosystems in the area.

In an open letter, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Dumaguete massive project “must also consider the scientific and environmental implications, not to mention its impacts on the cultural and moral life of the people in the local community.”

It said the technical processes involved in the study “have been found wanting in as far environmental and public interests are concerned.”

“We hope that an open public forum be organized concerning this issue so that more concerned people and institutions could take part in this discussion in order to promote transparency and dialogue,” the open letter read.

The diocese joined the list of scientists, environmentalists and organizations opposing the project. The open letter was signed by Dumaguete Bishop Julito Cortes, Vicar General Glenn Corsiga, Chancellor Gonzalo Omison II, and Episcopal Vicar Robert Bongoyan. 

In a statement over the weekend, national scientists and former environment chief Angel Alcala said the reclamation along the city’s coastline “will directly destroy, literally bury” coral reefs, seagrass and soft-sediment ecosystems that support fishers in Dumaguete.

Youth organizations also said the project can potentially alter the flow of wastewater, which will result in the pollution of multiple municipal waters, and increase flooding impacts.




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